Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Utthita Hasta Padangusthasana, Karandavasana, rooters, and floaters

First, a couple of things on this morning's practice. I tried following the advice of a few of the commenters on my previous post about Utthita Hasta Padangusthasana, especially the part about strongly activating the bandhas and really powering the standing leg. It's made the pose a lot more stable, especially on the first side, which, for whatever reason, has always been my weaker side (maybe my left leg is less strong than my right?). There was still a bit of wobbling, but the whole pose just feels more grounded and stable. Thank you commenters for your valuable advice. This is why it is nice to have a yoga blog :-) 

There's also some good development on the Karandavasana front. This morning, I was able to control my descent more; instead of just swinging/crashing down from lotus in pincha, and hoping that my knees will somehow "catch" and land on my upper arms/elbows, I was able to use my bandhas to slow the descent and kind of curl the body a little into a ball-shape. Because of this, the landing on the upper arms felt more stable and grounded. Still can't get back up to pincha, though. Will keep working on this.


Most of my day so far has been spent preparing for my move to Idaho; specifically, I had to take care of a bunch of immigration paperwork to transfer my employment visa from my present workplace to my new workplace. Not a terribly difficult process in and of itself, as I've already done this a few times in the past. But it's nevertheless a little... depressing, as it reminds me of how transient my status in this country is at present, even though I've been here for more than 10 years, first as a student, then as a college professor. This is why, politically, I have always been a supporter of comprehensive immigration reform; even if it does not benefit me immediately, it is still a good thing, especially if it will help many many people, especially the so-called "dreamers", who have been here for a long time and who have known no other home.

I'm not sure if this blog is a good place to be talking about immigration matters, especially as it relates to my employment, since I do try to maintain a separation of blog and work. But aside from the political dimensions of the issue, I have always found the notion of immigration law to be a very mysterious notion. I mean, think about it this way: Billions of people live in this world. Many of these people live their entire lives within a hundred or so miles of the place in which they were born, and are able to flourish and live relatively good lives in this way. It has never even entered the heads of these people to want to move anywhere far from where they were born. At the risk of oversimplifying things a little, let's call these people "rooters", because their lives are "rooted" in the geographical vicinity of the place in which they were born.  

Others, however, are not so fortunate, in a sense. For whatever reason (political, economic, cultural, etc.), they find themselves having to move at some point in their lives to a place far from where they were born, and having to make a life for themselves there. Again at the risk of oversimplifying things, let's call these people "floaters."

Some people in this world are rooters, some are floaters. Whether you are a floater or a rooter is no indication of what kind of person you are. Among rooters, there are morally upstanding people who live productive lives and contribute to their communities, but there are also morally evil people who commit crimes and inflict all manner of evil on themselves and others. Same goes for floaters: There are upstanding floaters and morally evil floaters. So the only inherent difference between floaters and rooters is that, well, one group chooses to "root" while the other chooses to "float". And since time immemorial, there have been floaters and rooters in every corner of the globe. No matter how politicians and those in power choose to divide up the living space of this world into countries and political systems, the fact remains that those who root will root, and those who float will float. 

And this is where I find the whole notion of immigration law mysterious. Much of immigration law--at least the way it works right now in this country, I can't speak for other countries around the world--seems to be designed to send a message to certain floaters that they are not welcome to live in a certain place, even if they are people who have committed no crime and are living productive contributive lives. The message seems to be this: It is not enough that you are living productive lives and are not a negative influence in your community. You also need to have these things called "papers" in order to qualify as a legal presence in this land. If you don't have "papers", you will be forcibly ejected from this land, no matter how productive a person you are. And since you did not have papers when you first came to this land, we are not going to give you papers now, no matter how productive you are as an inhabitant of this land.

I hope you see the catch-22 here. Why should it be the business of any government or body of laws to tell somebody that they can't live and make a life in a particular place, if they are not living in a way that is destructive or parasitical on others? Especially in a place like this country, where unless you happen to be Native American, you most certainly have an ancestor who was a floater? It's hard not to come to the conclusion that there is a certain double standard going on here, that the immigration laws of this land are basically saying that some people are welcome because they are descended from floaters who came here earlier, while others are not because, well, they didn't come early enough.

Anyway... why am I rambling about floaters and rooters on a yoga blog? I probably don't have any good reason to be rambling about all this; but then again, does one need a good reason to ramble on one's own blog? ;-) But in any case, I thank you for reading, if you made it this far.            

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